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The Rafale jets will be formally incorporated into the IAF on Thursday; French Defense Minister will attend the event | India News


NEW DELHI: Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, his French counterpart Florence Parly and senior Indian military commanders will attend a ceremony at Ambala Air Base on Thursday to formally incorporate five Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force, they said. The authorities.
Parly and Singh will hold talks in Ambala on ways to further deepen bilateral defense and security cooperation after the ceremony, they said.
The French defense minister is scheduled to arrive Thursday morning and will depart in the late afternoon, officials said.
The first batch of five Rafale jets arrived in India on July 29, almost four years after India signed an intergovernmental agreement with France to acquire 36 of the jets at a cost of Rs 59,000 crore.
The planes, produced by major French aeronautics Dassault Aviation, have yet to formally join the IAF.
So far ten Rafale aircraft have been delivered to India and five of them stayed in France to train IAF pilots. The delivery of the 36 aircraft is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2021.
A second batch of four to five Rafale jets is likely to arrive in India in November.
Sources said a preliminary discussion about a possible acquisition of another batch of 36 Rafale jets by India from France may figure in the talks between Singh and Parly.
The Rafale jets, known for their air superiority and precision strikes, are India’s first major fighter aircraft acquisition in 23 years after Sukhoi jets were imported from Russia.
The Rafale jet is capable of carrying a variety of powerful weapons. The European missile manufacturer MBDA’s air-to-air missile beyond visual range and the Scalp cruise missile will be the mainstay of the Rafale aircraft weapons package.
Meteor is a new generation beyond the visual range air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) designed to revolutionize air-to-air combat. The weapon has been developed by MBDA to combat common threats faced by the UK, Germany, Italy, France, Spain and Sweden.
Of the 36 Rafale aircraft, 30 will be fighter jets and six will be trainers. The training aircraft will be two-seater and will have almost all the characteristics of combat aircraft.
While the first squadron of Rafale aircraft will be stationed at Ambala Air Base, the second will be based at Hasimara Base in West Bengal.
The new fleet will be part of the IAF 17 Squadron that was resurrected on September 10 last year.
The squadron was originally formed at Ambala Air Force Station on October 1, 1951. Squad 17 has many firsts to its credit; in 1955 it was equipped with the first jet fighter, the legendary De Havilland Vampire.

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